A wisdom tooth is a natural tooth, but unfortunately it often happens that its growth is accompanied by pain and gum disease. The reason for this is a consequence of continuous change in human facial bone structure over the course of thousands of years; our lower jaws have narrowed over this time and so there is often insufficient space for wisdom teeth to grow out.
Many dentists suggest taking an OPG X-ray between the ages of 12-14 to ascertain the position of the wisdom teeth. It is good to know in advance what we can expect later regarding the behaviour of tooth number 8.
In actual fact a wisdom tooth is a molar tooth, tooth number 3 to be precise. Our great molar tooth received its interesting name because of its potential final outcome. If tooth number 8 were to grow correctly and fit well in the jaw then we wouldn’t have any problem with it. Unfortunately, these days we have more and more problems with the growing out of our teeth.
A wisdom tooth doesn’t grow in the right direction: the wisdom tooth tries to force its way in a horizontal direction or another tooth starts to oppose it and as a consequence the teeth become compacted, causing considerable pain in many cases. The brushing of a wisdom tooth is an extremely difficult exercise and if in addition it is leaning in the wrong direction then cleaning becomes even more difficult. As we are all well aware, poor teeth cleaning results in dental decay and subsequently leads to tooth loss.
If a wisdom tooth breaks through the gum only partially or remains in the jaw it stretches the gums, rendering them sensitive and a source of inflammation in a particular area. If a wisdom tooth emerges only partially then it can cause a huge problem as bacteria can access areas under the gums and cause gum disease, leading to strong pain, swelling and even lockjaw. This phenomenon carries an associated risk too as gum disease not only attacks the wisdom tooth but the teeth next to it as well. As such areas are hard to clean it is impossible to remove accumulated food particles and dental decay sets in.
Considering these problems, it is worth while having our great molar number 3 removed?
How are wisdom teeth removed?
In cases where a tooth number 8 has grown out completely, that is to say when its crown is fully exposed, then its removal is no different to that of any other tooth extraction and can take place with a local anesthetic.
However, if the direction in which the tooth is growing is problematic or it has partially grown out from the gum, then it needs to be removed from the gum using other means of intervention. In such cases a surgical procedure is required where the given area is opened and closure involves stitching; the stitches are removed 7 days after the operation.
In what cases are the removal of wisdom teeth necessary?
- If during the development of wisdom teeth inflammation appears accompanied by strong pain
- If there is insufficient space for the growth of the wisdom tooth
- If continuous inflammation and pain around the tooth persevere
- If the wisdom tooth pushes to such an extent that a piling of teeth occurs
- If it does not grow out in the right direction, thus irritating facial mucous membranes
- In case of any type of otherwise unexplainable facial pain
- If we notice bleeding while brushing our teeth accompanied by bad breath ( this usually happens when bacteria have reached the root of the tooth and cause gum disease).
Gum disease: Gingivitis renders the gums red and swollen. Because of this the gums start to bleed more easily. Gingivitis is caused by inadequate oral hygiene but can be treated with appropriate medical treatment and good oral practice at home.
Healing after the removal of wisdom teeth
Following an operation we prescribe antibiotics to our patients. One reason for this is if certain missing portions of the wisdom tooth caused complications during removal; another reason might be that the tooth had to be removed during a pre-determined procedure to counter inflammation. (We rarely exercise this option unless the wisdom tooth is either the cause or generator of the inflammation process or of the local inflammation which has developed around it). There also exists antibiotical therapy, to prevent the harmful effects of bacteria from attacking a bone lession from the oral cavity.
The healing period has different stages. The entire recovery time is usually between 6-7 weeks. (We are talking here about the complete recovery of the area operated upon. In general, it takes one week for the intensity of the pain to be reduced to a minimal level. This level of recovery can only be attained if, after the operation, we pay attention to and follow the dentist’s instructions, which are indispensable from the point of view of recovery).
What are these medical instructions?
- If the removal of teeth is conducted during intervention, then we should place a simple bag of frozen peas to our face in order to eradicate tumescence and a bloodshot appearance.
- After the operation we shouldn’t engage in physical work requiring the lifting of heavy weights and a lot of bending, because the wound may open and heavy bleeding occur.
- After the operation we shouldn’t consume dairy-products or seeds as they might accidentally access the healing area and cause complications such as purulent bleeding.
- We should be careful when brushing our teeth. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t brush your teeth as it is recommended after the operation because bacteria in the mouth aid with the recovery time of the healing. On the first day we should brush the top of the wound very carefully, later we can use the toothbrush more precisely and vigorously.
Why might the removal of wisdom teeth be dangerous?
More and more people decide to have wisdom teeth extracted. However, it is good to know that it is better not to have it done in warmer weather because an oedema can develop in the mouth as a result of hot weather .
There exist parents who want to have their children’s wisdom teeth extracted at the age of 8-10 years because it becomes apparent from an OPG X-ray that they will cause complications later. However, this isn’t a good decision as the development of the jaw finishes in adulthood between the ages of 16-18, so it is possible that these teeth will grow out without any problems.
Did you know?
It is harder to operate on the lower wisdom teeth than on the upper wisdom teeth as the lower jaw bone is harder and thicker. In summary, with 70-80% of patients who undergo this intervention, inconveniences usually appear 2-3 days after the operation.
If you have any problems with your teeth, Tibor Dental can sort it out. Contact us for a consultation or you can just simply call us to have a conversation about your dental situation.